Alex Trebek may be gone, but his legacy will live on — starting with the final week of Jeopardy! episodes he filmed just ten days before his death in November from stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
However, while you will get 15 more rounds of the wise, avuncular game show host being the best in the business, there is a very special moment you won’t see.
Trebek regularly spoke with the audience in between shows (they filmed five a day), entertaining them with anecdotes or Q&A sessions. But this week was different. Executive producer Mike Richards shared with the Today show on Monday:
“What he did on tonight’s show is just a great testament to him… He usually said something about what was happening in the news or about what game play had been happening. In this very special, unbelievable, final week, he comes out and gives a talk about the importance of togetherness and sticking together and that the world is struggling, but we have to get through it together.”
Richards said Trebek’s words gave the entire crew “chills”:
“There are specific moments in Jeopardy! when you clap and then there are moments when you’re quiet. Usually in his monologue, he would come out, give a statement and they would go to the categories. Well, there’s not many people in the studio because of COVID. And we all burst into applause.”
And when the camera wasn’t on him, he reacted in his typical, always-a-pro way. Richards explained:
“You don’t see it on camera, but as he’s going to the categories, he sees us start to applaud and he kind of looks at us like, ‘What are you guys doing?’ We were so moved that we had to applaud.”
You may not see that on TV, but you can see a very special message from Alex about the holidays courtesy of Jeopardy!‘s YouTube channel (below):
Wow. You want to know how much of a pro Trebek was?
We almost didn’t get these final episodes, as the 80-year-old had not been doing well at all just prior. But he demanded to do them! Richards recalled:
“The week before we taped those episodes he was in the hospital. This man was unbelievable. He calls me and says, ‘Mike, I’m going to be fine. I’ll be in to tape. I was able to eat Jell-O today.’ And I went, ‘Alex, that’s great, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to be ready to host five episodes of a game show, which is an enormous amount of effort.’ He said, ‘Do not cancel. I will be there.’”
And he was. And the world got a little more Alex to kick off 2021.
#RIP to an absolute legend…
[Image via Jeopardy/YouTube.]